Noy, Gising to CBCP: Why was the Black Nazarene frequently brought to Janet Napoles’ house?

CBCP, please explain: Why was the Black Nazarene frequently brought to Janet Napoles’ house?

Question from “Noy, Gising” Facebook Page:

CBCP, please explain: Thousands and thousands of devotees struggle (and even die) just to touch or get a glimpse of the Black Nazarene.  So why was it frequently brought to Janet Napoles’ house?  Did God give her a special pass to view and pray before the Black Nazarene?  Do you still wonder why a lot of people are disillusioned with you guys.

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit.

Does the RH law force Catholics to use contraceptives?

Atty. Jemy Gatdula wrote in his blog that the religious freedom argument would not work because religious freedom works via exemption:

Religious freedom arguments are by nature working on the idea of exemption. Take for example the Flag salute case of Ebranilag or the live-in arrangement in Estrada, what is sought is not to render the laws subject of those cases unconstitutional but to ask that an exemption from its application be made with regard to those religions adversely affected by it.

Hence, what a petitioner in a religious freedom argument is saying is not that the law is unjust but only in that the law is unjust insofar as it hinders in the free exercise of their religion.
Furthermore, it also leads to other, even more complicated, questions. Because, if for example an exemption is indeed granted, how then would such exemption be applied? In the Ebranilag and Estrada cases, detailed conditions were laid out by the Supreme Court that must be complied with. However, in the case of the RH Law, how can such exemptions be given when the law itself does not force Catholics to use contraceptives. And this within the context that a substantial majority of Catholics are in favor of contraceptives. If the religious freedom argument were used only in relation to government health workers, then the same could easily be cured by the use of the separability clause.
Pope Paul VI

Pope Paul VI

Response:

I am not a lawyer, so I have no expertise regarding the constitution and its interpretation.  Atty. Gatdula may have a point here regarding the constitutional weakness of the religious freedom argument.  But I shall only comment on two of his statements from a religious point of view:
1.  How can exemptions be given when the law itself does not force Catholics to use contraceptives?
2.  And this is within the context that a substantial majority of Catholics are in favor of contraceptives.
I shall discuss these issues individually.
1.  How can exemptions be given when the law itself does not force Catholics to use contraceptives?

An object, such as a rock, may be pushed in two ways.  One way is to push it with your bare hands.  The other way is to use a lever such as a stick.  Both have the same results: the rock is moved.

The RH law does not indeed force Catholics to use contraceptives.  But since the RH law uses the taxation power of the State to fund the law, and taxes are paid by Catholics who constitute more than 80 percent of the population, then Catholics effectively pay for the use of contraceptives by other people, even if these would be freely given by the State.

Now, the Catholic Church teaches that contraception is sinful.  This is an unchanging teaching of the Church.  Pope Paul VI wrote:

Unlawful Birth Control Methods

14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong. (Humanae Vitae)

Pope Pius XI

Pope Pius XI

And before this, Pope Pius XI wrote:

56. Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.

57. We admonish, therefore, priests who hear confessions and others who have the care of souls, in virtue of Our supreme authority and in Our solicitude for the salvation of souls, not to allow the faithful entrusted to them to err regarding this most grave law of God; much more, that they keep themselves immune from such false opinions, in no way conniving in them. If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust, and let him take to himself the words of Christ: “They are blind and leaders of the blind: and if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.[46] (Casti Connubii)

Thus, if the State, through the RH Law, taxes Catholics to pay for purchase of contraceptives whose use is a grave sin, then the State forces Catholics to sin by being accomplice to sin.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines four ways in which a person becomes an accomplice to sin:

1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:

– by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

– by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

– by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

– by protecting evil-doers.

Participating directly in the procurement of contraceptives by paying taxes that will fund the RH law is to be an accomplice to sin.  This is the first way, though our sin may be lessened or we may be dispensed from this if we are unwilling accomplices, because amortal sin requires three things: grave matter, full knowledge, and complete consent.

The third way is also relevant: if we Catholics do not disclose or hinder the passage of the RH Law when we have the obligation to do so, then we are guilty of being accomplices to the RH Law, and by doing so we sin.  This is the sin of omission.  “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” (attributed to Edmund Burke).  But if we lose the fight and the RH Law gets passed, then our conscience is clear even if we pay our taxes to the State who shall fund the RH Law: because we tried with all our might to hinder its passage, but was defeated.  As stated in the Serenity Prayer attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

2.  And this is within the context that a substantial majority of Catholics are in favor of contraceptives.

Individual Catholics do not define Church doctrine: it is the hierarchical Church who does so headed by the Pope.  Even if majority of Catholics are in favor of contraceptives, this does not change the fact that the use of contraceptives is a grave sin.  Thus, it is the duty of the Bishops of the Philippines to make sure that the RH Law would not be passed, in order to spare ordinary Catholics from sinning by being accomplices to sin.

Thus, it is impossible for the State to exempt Catholics from using contraceptives yet at the same time force Catholics to pay taxes that would be used to purchase contraceptives.  The better option is not to ratify the RH Law and make the State buy contraceptives in behalf of the people; rather, the State should only at most make the contraceptives available in the market as what we have now, and let individuals who need them buy them as their consciences allow.

UPDATE 7/21/2013

From Atty Jemy Gatdula:

hi dr. sugon. just to let you know i agree with both your points. the article was just to let law students, laymen see the difficulties in translating such points into a cohesive argument for the court. and, by the way, i belong to the only group of petitioners that actually used the tax argument and addressed all (hopefully) the concerns regarding such argument.

Response:

Hi Jemy,

Thanks for the clarification. It is only now that I read your group’s petition to the Supreme Court regarding the RH Law. In this petition, your group have shown that contraception is against Natural Law and that Natural Law is not just a Christian idea but dates back to the Ancient Greeks and which form the basis of modern jurisprudence. In the second part starting at article 120, you discussed how the government’s promotion of contraceptives is against religious freedom, because contraception is not just a discipline such as fasting, but a grave sin. And you used much more exhaustive references than I have shown in my blog post. You also showed that the implementation of the RH Law makes Catholics accomplices to sin through the payment of taxes. The third part starting at article 200 is more on how the RH Law is against the pro-family character of the Philippine constitution. I shall promote your petition in my blog and FB pages. Thank you very much.

Ateneo, La Salle, and RH Bill: Is the primacy of conscience incompatible with the primacy of Catholic teaching?

From RH Bill and the Catholic University:

OBJECTION 3.  The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with the primacy of conscience

The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with the primacy of conscience. As the Catechism says:

1776 “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”

1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”

Thus, if a Catholic professor claims that he is only following his conscience in supporting the RH Bill, then the Catholic Church cannot judge him that he is wrong, since conscience is the voice of God Himself.

RESPONSE:

Because the objection quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we must also turn to the same Catechism for our response.  Articles 1776 and 1782 constitute only half of the picture.  The other half are as follows:

1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

Thus, the Catechism says that conscience can err.  An Aztec emperor offering human sacrifice to the gods to bring rain to the parched fields is obeying his conscience.  A Nazi officer obeying the commands of Hitler to exterminate all Jews is obeying his conscience.  A woman who aborts her baby because she is still young and cannot afford to raise the child is obeying her conscience.  And the couple who uses condoms and pills because having children are burdensome are obeying their conscience.  If one elevates the voice of what people believe to be their conscience as the standard for truth, then truth becomes relative depending who says so, because  each one defines for himself what is good and what is evil.  Isn’t this what Satan, in the form of a serpent, told Eve in the Garden of Eden?

You certainly will not die!5 God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil. (Gen 3:4-5)

If men were left alone to their own consciences, the world will never know what is truly good and truly evil.  Let us take the Library as an analogy.  If the librarian does nothing and students get to decide for themselves where the best place for each book should be–on the floor, on the table, or on the shelf–then the library would be in chaos.  The state of disorder of the library can never decrease, and can actually increase, as the Law of Entropy states.  That is why a librarian is needed to put order in the books and impose rules: keep quiet when you are in the library and don’t return the books to the shelf but leave them on your desks.  Only the librarian has the shelving authority to put the books back in their proper places.

In a similar way, the morals of men will become highly disordered if men were left to themselves.  That is why God intervened in history and made covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).  He chose the people of Israel to be His own and gave them the Ten Commandments.  He also established the Levitical priesthood to offer sacrifices in atonement for sin.  God appointed judges to interpret his laws; no one is allowed to hop from one judge to another in search for a favorable ruling.  But Israel rejected God by asking for a King like other nations.  God gave them Saul, but Saul was disobedient.  So God made David a King and promised him an everlasting Kingdom.  But the kings after David worshiped heathen idols, so God sent prophets to remind them of His covenant with  Israel at Sinai: He is their God and they are His people.  But Israel must obey God’s voice.  Yet Israel killed many of the prophets.  So in the fullness of time, God sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  And God Himself became the teacher of Israel.  He healed their infirmities, fed them in the wilderness, and established His Church as the New People of God, opening the doors of the Church not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles.  He gave His Church the Sacraments to sanctify nations and the Teaching Authority to teach in His Name.  And for nearly 2,000 years the Catholic Church that Christ founded continued to exist throughout history, a witness to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the conversion of the barbarian nations of Europe, the conquest of Islam, the Age of Discovery, the formation of modern republics, the rise of Communism, the two World Wars, and the present age.   Christ fulfilled His promise that He will always be with His Church and His Church will never fall into error.  And the Church through the Ages has never failed to teach what is truly good and what is truly evil, even if the world does not wish to hear Her message, even as the world does not anymore see Her relevance, as what we have now today.

Ateneo, La Salle, and RH Bill: Should Catholic teaching have primacy in Catholic Universities?

From RH Bill and the Catholic University:

OBJECTION 1: Catholic theology is just one of the many sciences taught in Catholic universities

Catholic theology is just one of the many sciences taught in Catholic universities. Therefore, Catholic doctrine taught in theology is just one of the many scientific opinions, so that in the case of the RH Bill, for example, if there is conflict between the conclusions of economics and theology regarding the use of contraceptives, a professor in a Catholic university can equally choose to side with the economic argument or with the theological argument, because one argument is equally as good as the other as they are both products of human reason. This means that even if the Church hierarchy (the CBCP) or the Pope declares that contraception is intrinsically wrong and should be condemned, a Catholic professor can dismiss these teachings if he finds what for him are weightier justification for the use and promotion of contraceptives, such as population explosion, too many children to feed, or women’s right over their bodies, etc.

RESPONSE:

Catholic Theology is indeed a science.  In Science, truth may either be what is known to be true (postulates or axioms or laws) or whatever is deduced from these (theorems). For example, in Physics Kepler’s law that describes the elliptical orbit of the planets around the sun may be thought of as a theorem of a more fundamental law: Newton’s Law of Gravitation. Similarly, in Catholic Theology, doctrines are deduced from two sets of axioms: Sacred Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition.  The summary of Catholic doctrines is published in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

But the axioms in philosophical sciences–which we have to accept by faith until proven wrong–are not certain.  For example, remove the parallel postulate in Euclidean geometry and you arrive at intersecting parallel lines in spherical or projective geometry.  Also, though Newton’s Law of Gravitation can predict many things, Einstein’s General Relativity can predict more things, such as the precession of Mercury’s perihelion and gravitational lensing.  Scientists are continuously revising theories as they search for the the ultimate Theory of Everything (TOE), the one equation that shall rule them all: the structure of the universe, its beginning, and its end.

Unlike the axioms in philosophical science, the axioms of Catholic Theology are certain, because God has revealed them Who can neither deceive nor intend to deceive.  In this sense, Catholic Theology is nobler than other sciences.  Aquinas has more to say on the nobility of Catholic Theology (Sacred Sciences) in his Summa Theologiae:

“Since this science is partly speculative and partly practical, it transcends all others speculative and practical. Now one speculative science is said to be nobler than another, either by reason of its greater certitude, or by reason of the higher worth of its subject-matter. In both these respects this science surpasses other speculative sciences; in point of greater certitude, because other sciences derive their certitude from the natural light of human reason, which can err; whereas this derives its certitude from the light of divine knowledge, which cannot be misled: in point of the higher worth of its subject-matter because this science treats chiefly of those things which by their sublimity transcend human reason; while other sciences consider only those things which are within reason’s grasp. Of the practical sciences, that one is nobler which is ordained to a further purpose, as political science is nobler than military science; for the good of the army is directed to the good of the State. But the purpose of this science, in so far as it is practical, is eternal bliss; to which as to an ultimate end the purposes of every practical science are directed. Hence it is clear that from every standpoint, it is nobler than other sciences.”  (Part 1, Question 1, Article 5)

Unless we can prove that Aquinas made a mistake in his argument, then we have to agree to his conclusion:

From every standpoint, Catholic Theology is nobler than other sciences.

If this statement is true, then we arrive at the following statement:

A Catholic University must uphold the primacy of Catholic Theology among all sciences.

Hence, a Catholic University must be institutionally faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.  This is explained in detail in Ex Corde Ecclesiae of John Paul II:

27. …. One consequence of its essential relationship to the Church is that the institutional fidelity of the University to the Christian message includes a recognition of andadherence to the teaching authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals. Catholic members of the university community are also called to a personal fidelity to the Church with all that this implies. Non-Catholic members are required to respect the Catholic character of the University, while the University in turn respects their religious liberty(26).

28. Bishops have a particular responsibility to promote Catholic Universities, and especially to promote and assist in the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic identity, including the protection of their Catholic identity in relation to civil authorities. This will be achieved more effectively if close personal and pastoral relationships exist between University and Church authorities, characterized by mutual trust, close and consistent cooperation and continuing dialogue. Even when they do not enter directly into the internal governance of the University, Bishops “should be seen not as external agents but as participants in the life of the Catholic University”(27).

Thus, for example, if a Biologist will say that man has many ape-like ancestors and that there could be many Adams and Eves, putting the whole plan of salvation and the Sacrifice of Christ to naught, then it is the duty of Catholic University to uphold the Catholic teaching on our first parents as expressed in Humani Generis of Pius XII:

37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

Similarly, if Economists propose the promotion of contraception through the RH Bill as a vehicle for economic prosperity, then it is the duty of the Catholic University to uphold the Catholic teaching on contraception as expressed in Humanae Vitae of Paul VI:

14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberatelycontraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.

Purgatory in the Catechism of the Catholic Church

March 11, 2012 at 12:05 am

Regarding Purgatory, this is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608

1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.”609 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.610 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.611

How to use Google to search the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Question:

Posted by artsee on August 8, 2011 at 3:19 am  edit

The Blog’s owner is not actually a good Catholic defender but an excellent researcher. He keeps using Catechism as his basis for his argument. The Catholic Church’s Catechism was actually to counter the Protestant Reformists.

Anyway, I wonder if some of you guys are old enough to remember the Beatles’ song “Fool on the Hill”. The Beatles were referring to the irrelevance of the Pope.

Response:

Posted by Quirino M. Sugon Jr on August 9, 2011 at 8:07 pm  edit

Artsee and Clyde,

I am the least of all Catholic Defenders. You are right: I am not a good Catholic defender but an excellent researcher. Thank you for the adjective “excellent”, but it is you who say so not I. I only type keywords in Google and I get the answer that I need. I don’t remember the exact verses in the Bible. I only know that such verses exist and let Google do the searching. For example, if I want to find the verse on the Bible regarding transfiguration, I type in the Google search bar: “nab transfiguration”. “nab” stands for New American Bible. The first result in Google is Mark 9 of NAB. I click it. I don’t read the whole chapter. Instead I search the keyword in the chapter by typing CTRL + F, that is, “find”. A search bar will be provided where I shall type my keyword: “transfiguration”. Then I find that the word is not in the chapter but in the footnote. In the footnote I see Matthew 17:1.

I can repeat the procedure by looking for transfiguration in the Catechism of the Catholic Church by typing in Google “Catechism transfiguration”. That shall lead me to Part One, Section Two, Article 3. Then I type CTRL + F “transfiguration”. Look at the scroll bar. You will see some lines of yellow there. If your scroll bar reaches those lines, you will see the word “transfiguration” highlighted.

There, I gave you my little secret. I am not a genius. I invite you to search the Catechism using the method I presented about any doctrine you like to read on, just to see how stupid are the answers of the Catholic Church. You will never know how stupid the answers are until you read them. You will be surprised that the Catechism quotes the Bible a lot with chapter and verse numbers. You will also be surprised that there are also quotes of men who have studied the Bible longer than we did, e.g. St. Augustine and St. Aquinas. And you will be surprised that many of these men lived long before INC and some even actually heard the apostles themselves preach. Life is full of surprises.

Sadly, you cannot use the same method of research for INC doctrines because there is no official website to read. INC ministers may make mistakes in their teachings and you will never know, unless you see for yourself the official teaching.

Let me end with a quote (Google: “Fulton Sheen hate Catholic Church”): “There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church, which is, of course, quite a different thing.”

Btw, regarding Fool on the Hil, this is what Wikipedia says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fool_on_the_Hill):

McCartney said the song relates to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:
“ ‘Fool on the Hill’ was mine and I think I was writing about someone like Maharishi. His detractors called him a fool. Because of his giggle he wasn’t taken too seriously … I was sitting at the piano at my father’s house in Liverpool hitting a D 6th chord, and I made up ‘Fool on the Hill.’[3] ”
Alistair Taylor, in the book Yesterday, reports a mysterious incident involving a man who inexplicably appeared near him and McCartney during a walk on Primrose Hill and then disappeared again, soon after McCartney and Taylor had conversed about the existence of God; this allegedly prompted the writing of the song.[5]

Continuing scandal in Ateneo de Manila after MVP’s speech: LADLAD and the Reproductive Health Bill

I.  The School Forum on MVP’s Speech

I attended the forum on MVP’s commencement speech yesterday.  There were four speakers, but I can remember only two: Fr. Ben Nebres, S.J. and Mr. Leland de la Cruz.  Fr. Ben announced the resignation of MVP and he emphasized the Board of Trustee’s decision was based on Catholic Moral Theology: there are many mitigating factors to the deed and among them are full knowledge and consent.  Leland, on the other hand, talked about the hurt experienced by other members of the Ateneo community.  His question is essentially on how do we reconcile the academic honesty we teach to our students with MVP’s speech.  I admire Leland for his courage.

I did not share my opinion in the forum.  I only listened.  I noticed that those who speak in favor of BOT are generally older teachers and those who speak in favor of Leland are generally younger.  If you ask my opinion,  I shall say that this issue is beyond my competence as a blogger.  I cannot directly quote from the Catechism or from a papal encyclical.  This is not a doctrinal problem, but something academic or something on the question of personal culpability which I am not competent to judge.  And besides, MVP and the Board of Trustees are not my colleague: they are my superiors.  I can air my disagreement to my colleague’s opinions, but for those of my superiors, I shall prefer to be mum and let those in authority  decide on the issue.  My code of conduct is governed by St. Ignatius 10th Rule for Thinking, Judging, and Feeling with the Church:

Rule 10. We ought to  be more inclined to approve and praise the decrees, recommendations, and conduct of our superiors than to speak against them.  For although in some cases their acts are not or were not praiseworthy, to speak against them either by preaching in public or by conversing among the ordinary people would cause more murmuring and scandal than profit.  And through this the people would become angry at their officials, whether civil or spiritual.  However, just as it does harm to speak evil about officials among the ordinary people while they are absent, so it can be profitable to speak of their bad conduct to persons who can bring about a remedy.

I haven’t seen the letter of Leland’s group before it was published on the web.  And many faculty members haven’t seen it.  It would have been better if they shared it with all the faculty first, get the pulse of the community, and broadcast it afterward.  More could have added their names on the list.  But that is only in hindsight.

II. The Continuing Scandals: LADLAD and the Reproductive Health Bill

One faculty walked to one of the microphones to speak her opinion.  And she passed behind my chair.  And while passing by I heard her whisper something to this effect: “the Catholic teaching on … is next.”  From the tone of her voice and murmurs I hear I can sense that she is referring to the issue of the Reproductive Health Bill which many faculty signed in support of the bill.  For this matter I can speak my mind, because I will not be speaking my mind but the mind of the Church: I shall simply quote Humanae Vitae:

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong. (section 14, par. 3)

Danton Remoto, the founding chairman of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered party list group LADLAD sits somewhere to my left.  From the mention of the word “ladlad” which means “to lay bare in public” in one of the opinion presentations on MVP’s speech, I can see some nods in approval of LADLAD.  This is the second continuing scandal in Ateneo de Manila University: you have a professor in a Catholic University which pushes for the adoption of homosexual norms in the government, in defiance of Catholic moral teaching on homosexuality as stated in the Catechism.

Unlike MVP who admitted his error, the proponents of the Reproductive Health Bill and LADLAD in Ateneo continued to claim to know better than the Church’s Magisterium.  Fr. Ben Nebres’s appeal to Catholic teaching on full knowledge and consent for the sinful deed to be grave falls on deaf ears: you have a group of faculty members who do not anymore believe in the Church’s teaching authority.   If the Catholic Church can err in its teaching on contraception and homosexuality, then the Catholic Church can also err in its teaching on venial and mortal sins.

The disobedience to Church’s teaching authority also leads to another thing: the spirit of dissent to authority in general.  Dissent begets dissent.  I saw this years ago when the Vice President for Loyola Schools, Dr. Cuyegkeng, was standing in front of the students explaining the new University dress code–a code for modesty as a guardian of chastity.  Some Faculty members and Student leaders lambasted her in her face.  They find it difficult to follow a simple rule as to dress decently when you are in school.  Where is academic freedom in that?  they say, forgetting that students come to the Ateneo not to tell Ateneo what to do, but rather to be formed by Ateneo in the Jesuit Catholic tradition.  You don’t talk down to the Vice President; you entreat her in deference to her position, to the dignity of the office that she represents.  And I feel that the wording of the letter in response to the BOT’s decision on MVP could also have been written in the same spirit: the spirit of entreaty and deference.

Rebuilding Philippines as a Christian Civilization through the Ten Commandments

The laws of a country must be based on Truth. “What is Truth?” Pilate asked Christ. Christ is the Truth, for he said: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” So great a claim is backed by signs that prove his divinity, and the greatest of these is the Sign of Jonah: the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. If the Resurrection never happened, then Christ is a false prophet and Christianity is a false religion. And the twelve apostles–these twelve cowards, most of them only fishermen–will just remain in the upper room, hiding, for fear of the Jews. But the Resurrection did happen. And the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit, went to preach to the whole world, baptizing new converts, and suffered martyrdom in the name of Christ.

But there are many groups calling themselves Christians, each group offering its own interpretation of what God has revealed as written in the Bible. One group says contraception, abortion, and divorce is okay. Another group says they are not. So on what branch of Christianity must be laws of a country be based? The laws of a country must be based on firm ground. If something is taught to be true years and centuries ago, the same teaching must still be taught as true today until the world ends. Contraception, abortion, and divorce cannot be wrong in the first centuries of Christianity but can be true now, as what Protestants in the US now claim. This is impossible Truth is timeless. Is there a group of Christians whose truths remain immutable in time? Yes, there is: it is the Catholic Church. Therefore, the laws of a country must be based on the teachings of the Catholic Church. The ideal country is a Catholic State. The ideal country is the City of God.

The Liberals rebel against union of the God and the State. What they want is to build a City Without God, a City of Man. They want to make a city that rises to the sky, piercing the clouds to very abode of God, as the men of the Babel did. They want to make a Paradise of universal brotherhood of men without the Fatherhood of God. We have seen these Utopias in the last century in the form of Fascism, Nazism, and Communism. They all failed. Nature abhors the vacuum. If you remove the God from the State, a demonic spirit will find it empty and swept clean. He will live in it and he will invite seven other demons to live with him: Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth. And the state of the State will be more terrible than the first. If you want an example, look to the West.

What is the law of Christ? The law of Christ is the commandment of Love: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Christ is our model on how to love our neighbor. “I solemnly assure you, whatever you have done to the least of my brothers, you have done it to me.” We must love our neighbor because we love Christ.

Christ’s law of love is the essence and perfection of the Ten Commandments:

  1. I am the Lord your God.  You shall not have strange gods before me.
  2. You shall not speak the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
  4. Honor your father and your mother.
  5. You shall not kill.
  6. You shall not commit adultery.
  7. You shall not steal.
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

These laws must be the basis of the laws of our country.  They must be enshrined in our courtrooms, unlike in the US where they are now forbidden.  If we want a more detailed analysis of these laws, we must read the Catechism.  There you shall find all concepts that the Catholic Church has compiled in her two thousand years of thinking about the Ten Commandments:

  1. Doubt, Heresy, Apostasy, Schism, Despair, Presumption, Indifference, Hatred of God, Superstition, Idolatry, Divination and Magic, Irreligion, Atheism, Agnosticism
  2. Blasphemy, Perjury
  3. Sunday Rest
  4. Respect for Parents and Authority
  5. Legitimate Defense, Homicide, Abortion, Euthanasia, Suicide, Scandal, Drug Addiction, Experimentation on Humans, Organ Transplants, Kidnapping, Hostage Taking, Terrorism, Sterilizations, Amputations, Mutilations, Cremation, Anger, Hatred, Just War, National Defense
  6. Chastity, Lust, Masturbation, Fornication, Pornography, Prostitution, Rape, Homosexuality, Conjugal Fidelity, Fecundity of Marriage, Periodic Continence, Contraception, Gift of Child, Large Families, Adultery, Divorce, Separation, Polygamy, Incest, Free Union, Trial Marriage
  7. Private Property, Universal Destination of Goods, Theft, Promises, Contracts, Commutative Justice, Legal Justice, Distributive Justice, Restitution, Games of Chance, Slavery, Integrity of Creation, Economic Activity, Social Justice, Economic Initiative, Responsibility of the State, Business Enterprises, Access to Employment, Just Wage, Strike, Social Security Contributions, Unemployment, Rich Nations, Direct Aid, Full Development of Human Society, Lay Faithful, Works of Mercy, Human Misery
  8. Witnesses to the Gospel, Martyrdom, False Witness, Perjury, Rash Judgment, Detraction, Calmny, Flattery, Adulation, Complaisance, Boasting, Irony, Lie, Duty of Reparation, Request for Information, Secret of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Professional Secrets, Civil Authorities, Sacred Art
  9. Concupiscence, Modesty, Purification of Social Climate, Moral Permissiveness
  10. Envy, Poverty of the Heart

These are a mouthful.  Volumes of Books have been written about them by the Catholic Church.  Many laws were made based on them by Catholic States and Monarchies.  The Ten Commandments is the prescription for the happiness of man while he is still on earth, and the prescription for gaining heaven in the next life.  The Ten Commandments should, therefore, come before the Constitution of the State.  The Ten Commandments should be the basis of the laws of the State.  This is the yoke of Christ.  The State must govern under the yoke of Christ.  Christ promised:

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. (Mt 11:28-30)

If men refuse to the yoke of Christ, the wooden yoke of the cross, God will give them the yoke of Muhammad, iron yoke of the crescent (c.f. Jer 28:13). And this is what happened to Europe. They removed God and Christianity from their constitution and they ended up inundated by waves of Islamic colonization.  The Muslims refuse to integrate because they obey a different law, the Shariah law.  Europe is now dotted by mosques.  Arabic is now spoken in many European enclaves.  Women wear veils.  And the clerics preach hatred against the Christians and Jews.  In 2050, because of Europeans low birthrate after decades of contraception and abortion, Christian Europe shall be forgotten and the continent shall be called Eurabia.  As foretold by the Prophet Jeremiah:

Beware, I will bring against you a nation from afar, O house of Israel, says the LORD; A long-lived nation, an ancient nation, a people whose language you know not, whose speech you cannot understand. Their quivers are like open graves; all of them are warriors. They will devour your harvest and your bread, devour your sons and your daughters, Devour your sheep and cattle, devour your vines and fig trees; They will beat flat with the sword the fortified city in which you trust. Yet even in those days, says the LORD, I will not wholly destroy you. (Jer 5:15-18)

Is Iglesia ni Cristo the Church of Christ?

Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, S.J., during one of our walks years ago, told us: “The Iglesia ni Cristo is neither a church nor of Christ.” It is worthwhile to ponder on his words as Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) celebrates its 95th Anniversary last July 27, 2009–95 years after Felix Y. Manalo made the INC into a corporation with him as the executive minister last July 27, 1914.

A true church of Christ has four marks: one, holy, Catholic, apostolic (c.f. Catechism of the Catholic Church Art. 811 ).   If one of this does not hold, then the Iglesia ni Cristo is a false church of Christ.

1.  Is the Iglesia ni Cristo one?  The INC is is united in doctrine and even in voting. No wonder many politicians who wished to be reelected this coming 2010 elections are all congratulating INC in its 95th anniversary. The INC passed the first test.

2.  Is the Iglesia ni Cristo holy?  The Catholic Church has produced numerous saints: beggars and kings, scholars and soldiers, old and young.  Can the INC name at least one–only one–person in all its history whom they consider as a saint, a man or woman worthy of emulation, whose life reflected the radical message of the gospel–a Mother Teresa, an Ignatius of Loyola, a Francis of Assisi?  The INC can give none.

3.  Is the Iglesia ni Cristo catholic?  Catholicity simply means universal.  The INC is universal in space: the INC is now found in many countries and its mission is to convert the whole world.  But the INC is not universal in time:  where was INC in the first centuries of Christianity, when the truths of the Faith were debated and clarified?  The INC was not there.  It is true that INC proclaims an affinity with the teachings of Bishop Arius (AD 250-336), the founder of Arianism, a heresy which denies the divinity of Christ.  But between Arius and Manalo is 1,600  years of absence.

Catholic also means “according to totality” or “in keeping with the whole” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Art. 830):

The Catholic Church is catholic because Christ is present in her.  “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.”  In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him “the fullness of the means of salvation” which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry of apostolic succession.  The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost and will always be so until the day of Parousia.

The INC also claims this catholicity, for they also adopt the following catholic doctrine:

Ouside the church there is no salvation.

I remembered one of INC’s television show called Tamang Daan, the Right Way in contrast to Eli Soriano’s Datin Daan or the Old Way.  In their show, one of INC’s argument to support their doctrine is a quotation from a catholic author: “Outside the Church of Christ there is no salvation.”  The two INC ministers–always two since two is the sign of Socratic dialogue for knowing the truth–will tell the readers that the text they are quoting has the imprimatur of the Catholic Church.  Then they make a twist of Faith: translate this sentence in Filipino and you will see that “Outside Iglesia ni Cristo there is no salvation.” Oh, what a proof.

4.  Is the Iglesia ni Cristo apostolic? To be apostolic, the INC must be founded by an apostle, in the same way as the Roman Catholic Church was founded by Apostles Peter and Paul. But the fact that INC only celebrated its 95th founding anniversary means that INC could never be founded by an apostle.  An apostle was a person sent by Christ with the authority to preach the Kingdom of God (c.f. Mt 10).  The apostles in turn ordained bishops and gave them authority to govern the church, as Timothy was ordained by Paul through the laying of the hands:

Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate. (1 Tim 4:14)

And these bishops in turn ordain new bishops to take their place.  The Roman Catholic Church, for example, is apostolic because it traces its apostolic lineage from St. Peter, the first bishop of Rome, to the present pope, Pope Benedict XVI.  But who ordained Manalo?  Who laid hands on him?  No one.  He ordained himself.  Oh, I made a mistake.  Protestant pastors ordained him (full story by Emily Jordan).  But INC never recognizes the Protestant faith.  Mainline Protestants at least believes on the Divinity of Christ, which the INC reject. This itself poses a question on the validity of the Manalo’s ordination.  (The validity of the Protestant minister’s apostolic succession is a separate issue.)  So effectively, no one ordained Manalo.  He ordained himself.

5.  Thus, the Iglesia ni Cristo posesses only one mark of the true Church of Christ: it is one, but it is not holy, nor catholic, nor apostolic.  Let us not be deceived.  Not all those who are named Manny Pacquiao can box like the real Manny Pacquiao.  Not all those who calls themselves the Church of Christ or Iglesia ni Cristo is the true Church of Christ.  Only the Catholic Church is.  The Church of Iglesia ni Cristo is a false church, an Anti-Church.  The Christ of Iglesia ni Cristo is an Arian idol, an Anti-Christ.  Let us not be deceived.

Dress code to Reproductive Health Bill: Dissent in Ateneo de Manila University

I found that the Ateneo de Manila University’s Rizal Library (and other offices) does not allow anyone to enter who are improperly dressed:

  1. Soiled clothes
  2. Lounging/gym/athletic/cycling shorts
  3. Short shorts
  4. Lounging/gym/athletic tops and sleeveless shirts (for men)
  5. Low-cut/backless/strapless tops and bare midriff
  6. Very short skirts/dress
  7. Very low-rise jeans (low-waist)
  8. Slippers – type of footwear consisting of a sole secured to the foot by straps over the instep only (Y-shaped strap)
  9. Other kinds of clothing that run counter to the guidelines in the memo on the Dress Code dated 6th December 2007.

This dress code is very revealing (pun intended): it reveals that the number of students wearing improper/indecent attire has grown enough to alarm the administration. And so far, the administration can only impose its rules only within the school offices. Outside these offices the students are free to dress as they like, even though they are still within the school campus.

Modesty is the guardian of chastity. The Catechism says:

Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the de definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

I remembered years ago when this issue came out. Some (many?) students and teachers denounced it. If Ateneans cannot obey a simple rule as the dress code, how can they obey weightier rules such as “artificial contraception is intrinsically evil” as taught by Pope Paul VI in his Humanae Vitae? Remember Christ’s parable of the talents? If we can be trusted with little things, we can also be trusted with greater things. Thus, with this moral climate at the Ateneo de Manila University, we should not anymore wonder why many of its professors signed in support of the Reproductive Health Bill currently debated in the Congress, in defiance of the Church’s teaching authority.

Let me end with a sad quote from Shakespeare:

O mighty [Ateneo]! dost thou lie so low? Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
Shrunk to this little measure? Fare thee well.
(c.f. Anthony to Caesar)